When I say that the world is full of wicked people, what comes to your thoughts? I’m sure your mind is reeling with images of thieves, rapists, murderers and people behind bars (whichever bar comes to mind first). When the term wicked is used, you probably think of the real-life example of Darth Vader, Loki, The Joker of Gotham City or Cruella from 101 Dalmatians. They blow up buildings, kill innocent people and plot dastardly schemes to get their ways. Well, God has an interesting way of defining wicked. In Matthew 25:14-30, Jesus narrated the parable about the men who were given talents by their master.
V15- To one he gave five talents of money, to another two talents, and to another one talent, each according to his ability
The first two servants used their talents well and multiplied their profit by 100%. The third servant didn’t squander his talent but he didn’t invest it either. He buried it in the ground and kept it hidden. The master, upon returning, was furious on discovering that this servant had not used his talent to multiply any wealth. His master’s reply was this:
His master replied, ‘You wicked, lazy servant!
We know he is lazy because he did not work. But on what account is he wicked? Did he use the money to gamble or buy something illegal? No. Is the master’s call unjustified? No, it’s not. The third servant is wicked on account on his failure to do the right thing with the resources in his hand. He does not necessarily do an evil thing. Look at what Proverbs 21:27 says:
The sacrifice of the wicked is detestable– how much more so when brought with evil intent!
We are told that wicked people make detestable sacrifices but we are told it is worse when there is an evil intent in their actions. It is possible that even without evil intent, common people like you and me can be wicked in our actions. Our wickedness is most prone when we have the capacity to do the right thing but we fail to do so. Listen to Proverbs 21:7:
The violence of the wicked will drag them away, for they refuse to do what is right.
That violence is brought about by lack of action and not necessarily by direct infraction. The third servant in the parable of the talents is wicked not on account of an infraction caused but on account of an omission of good. How many things has the Lord given you that you have not executed? On that account, you are wicked, beloved.
We are wicked people because of our sinful nature. We are held back from the great things we could do and successful risks we could take because we are too slothful to work, too proud to associate with others, too self-absorbed to think outside our comfort and convenience, too immature to handle greatness, too addicted to things to grow and too complacent to think that we even have a problem. The word says this:
Hebrews 12:1 Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles, and let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us.
You may think that Hebrews 12:1 has nothing to do with your resources but it does. We talk about all the ideas we could execute and all the things we could be but we’re held back by that sin that so easily entangles us. What is the sin that entangles you from realizing the potential God placed in you? Sin occupies our time and energy and desensitizes us from using our resources. When we fail to use our resources, we cannot run the race God has called us to effectively. Are you accountable in regards to your time, money and gifts?
If God has required that Ernest writes 5 books in his lifetime and that those 5 books will help save the souls of 1000 readers, then Ernest has a task. If he writes only one book, then he is a wicked servant. I find Matthew 25:15 interesting. It says that each servant was given resource each according to his ability. Therefore Ernest has everything he needs that God has allocated in order to be accountable to his duty. If you’re entangled in sin, chances are, even if you can still perform in your respective area of resource, you will not be as effective as when you’re disentangled from sin. When men and women of God minister, and their lives are right with God, the ministry becomes more than a worship song. The drawing becomes more than a painting. The 8pm-5pm job becomes more than a task accomplished. The people from without see the signature of God in the resources that we are given and in consequence they glorify God (Matthew 5:16).
Have you discovered areas of wickedness in your life? Have you discovered you need to change? My friend Keith taught me that the amount of time it takes to learn, change, grow and improve depends on the following:
a) Our willingness to agree with God that we have a problem.
We will start to cease being wicked when we agree that what God says about us is true.
b) Our admission to our problems and cessation to blaming others for them and making excuses.
The lazy servant blamed the master for his wickedness and slothfulness. People say statements like, “You made me angry” instead of taking responsibility for their anger. People blame the company around them for addiction in porn, drugs and make the excuse of not being able to leave. If it affects you and it is actively executed by you, commit it as a problem you have and humble yourself before the Maker of the Universe who demands a responsibility from your life.
c) Our acceptance that the solutions come from God
The resources you have come from God. It’s only sensible that he would know how best for you to execute their profitability.
d) Our investment in studying, learning and applying God’s word
The word of God teaches us to be righteous. When we are wicked with our sexuality, his word teaches us that we shouldn’t have even a hint of immorality (Ephesians5:3). When we are wicked with our job, his word teaches us that we ought to work hard and not borrow to be a burden (1 Thessalonians 3:10).
If we refuse to accept that we have a problem, blame others for our behaviour, waste time trying to change ourselves and fail to invest constant fellowship with God and his word, we will be akin to the third servant. We may have successful lives but as far as God is concerned, they may be mediocre because he knows he has given you more. We will take 40 years in the desert of living a “normal life” when it could take us 11 days to get to a life of “greatness”. Have a wicked-less week!